Faculty of Biological Sciences

Dr John Barr

BSc, PhD 1994, Warwick
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Background: Postdoctoral work at the Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. Appointed Research Instructor (2000), University of Alabama, and Academic Research Fellow, Leeds (2005)

Contact:  Garstang 8.55b, +44(0) 113 34 38069, email address for  

You can read more about Dr Barr's interests here:

Research Interests

Gene expression of negative-sense RNA viruses

The group of negative-sense RNA viruses include many of the most serious pathogens of both humans and animals. Examples include Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, Ebola virus and the arenaviruses. Each of these viruses cause significant mortality amongst humans, with disease ranging from devastating hemorrhagic fevers, to potentially lethal severe respiratory tract infections. We study many aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of these viruses, ranging from structural biology of viral proteins, mechanisms of gene expression, interactions between viral and cellular proteins, and global effects of viral infection on host cell processess using proteomics. The purpose of this research is to increase our understanding of how these viruses multiply, which will aid in the design of strategies that selectively interfere with virus growth without affecting host cell processes.

Clearly, many of these viruses are exremely hazardous to work with; CCHFV, Ebola virus and many of the arenaviruses are classified within Hazard Level-4, which requires the highest level of biological containment (CL-4). We are very fortunate to participate in a strong collaboration with the Health Protection Agency (UK), which allows the direct study of these viruses in high containment laboratories at the Porton Down facility near Salisbury. In addition, we have also recently collaborated with scientists from the Special Pathogens Branch at The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, USA) in a detailed investigation of CCHFV gene expression.

In addition to working with these extremely hazardous viruses, we also make use of so-called 'model viruses', which display characteristics that are extremely similar to their more deadly cousins, yet pose fewer safety concerns. Examples of two model viruses we have chosen to work with are Bunyamwera virus (BUNV) and Hazara virus (HAZ). These are both members of the Bunyaviridae family, and represent excellent research tools with which we can safely and rapidly accumulate important information that can be applied to other more lethal bunyaviruses.

For more information of our research, please visit the specific research pages that can be accessed using the following link www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/staff/Barr_J/

For information regarding post-graduate study in the laboratory, please enter the research pages, as described above, and read the page titled 'PhD opportunities'. This page gives information regarding current fully-funded PhD studentships, and also opportunities for highly motivated self-funded individuals wishing to embark on PhD study in my laboratory.

PhD projects are available on diverse aspects of structural and cellular biology of all the viruses described on these pages.


Current Projects

More information regarding current and future research projects can be found at this link: www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/staff/Barr_J/


Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

See also:

Modules managed

MICR1120 - Introduction to Microbiology
MICR1125 - Introductory Microbiology
MICR1201 - Introduction to Microbiology

Modules taught

BIOC2302 - Intermediate Biochemistry: Practicals
BIOC2303 - Intermediate Biochemistry: Skills
BIOL1302/1303/MICR1320 - Intro skills - Biological Science and Microbiology
BIOL2111/BIOC2301 - Integrated Biochemistry/Genetic Engineering
BIOL2301 - Intermediate Skills for Biological Sciences
BIOL2301/03/05/MICR2320 - Skills for Biol Sci, Biosciences and Microbiology
BIOL3306 - Biological Sciences Research Project
BIOL3398 - Research Tools and Applications
BIOL3399 - Extended Research Project Preparation
BMSC2210 - Chemotherapy
MICR1120 - Introduction to Microbiology
MICR1120/1125 - Introduction to Microbiology
MICR1201 - Introduction to Microbiology
MICR1320 - Skills for Microbiologists
MICR2121 - Molecular Virology
MICR2222 - Medical Virology
MICR3110 - Medical Microbiology Research Project
MICR3120 a - ATU - Respiratory infections
MICR3211/BIOL3210 A - ATU - emerging infections


Member of Graduate School Committee

Group Leader Dr John Barr  (Lecturer)

Gene expression of negative-sense RNA viruses 

Dr Victoria Easton  (Research Fellow)

Dr Selvaraj Muniyandi  (Research Fellow)


Katherine Davies (Primary supervisor) 40% FTE
Rachel Dods (Primary supervisor) 80% FTE
Jack Fuller (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE
Emma Punch (Primary supervisor) 80% FTE
Ibrahim Al-Masoud (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE
Francis Hopkins (Co-supervisor) 33% FTE
Samantha Hover (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE
Georgia Pangratiou (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE
Amelia Shaw (Co-supervisor) 33% FTE
Eleanor Todd (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE